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Want to chat with an award-winning author?

Lisa Yee, who has won multiple national awards for her writing, will pay a virtual visit in April to  Ypsilanti as part of the 2023 Ypsilanti District Library Family Read activities.

Her book, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, was a National Book Award Finalist, a Newbery Honor  Winner, and an Asian American Pacific Literature Award Winner, and is the centerpiece of this year’s Family Read lineup.

The Family Read is expanding this year to include the Belleville Area District Library, who will also have copies available to check out and will offer many similar events.

The Family Read celebrations kick off March 11 at Michigan Avenue, Whittaker Road, and  Belleville. At YDL’s Whittaker Road branch, you’ll even work with volunteers from the Detroit Free Press, YpsiWrites, and 826michigan to create a family story album, make your own clay fortune  cookies, and more!

The events will culminate in a shared screening of Yee’s virtual visit at Whittaker Road and the Belleville main branch on April 15. The Tween Book Group will interview Lisa Yee, with snacks and crafts to follow.

Activities related to the book will happen throughout the spring that help readers dive into the book’s themes and bring the book to life. We’ll have daily activities tied to the book at Michigan  Avenue and Whittaker Road during spring break, as well as weekend events. Learn to play poker,  make cream cheese wontons, and learn about recycling and composting. You can also visit for resources such as conversation starters, writing prompts from  YpsiWrites, and a booklist for younger readers.

About the Book

It’s twelve-year-old Maizy’s first time visiting her grandparents in Last Chance, Minnesota. When a short visit turns into an extended stay, Maizy learns more about her mom’s family history.  Then, someone steals a family treasure from outside her grandparents’ restaurant and leaves a  racist note, leading Maizy to hunt deeper for information.

This fast-paced story weaves Maizy’s experiences with the family stories her grandfather shares  about his grandfather’s journey from China to Last Chance. Historical information about the  Chinese Exclusion Act is included, helping readers reflect on what it means to be American. “Most of all, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance is about love, acceptance, and the power of family, friends, and neighbors,” wrote Ms. Yee.